Artist Spotlight: Dana Stull speaks for the voiceless

“My first serious writing project was a comic strip in third grade about my hamster, Speedo. I’ve always liked writing little stories and things,” junior Dana Stull said. Although she has moved away from comics, Stull still writes. She is the assistant poetry editor of Rock & Sling, Whitworth’s national literary journal and majors in English on the writing track. Her chapbook—a small collection of poetry, often with fewer than 40 pages— “the girl who says nothing,” won Whitworth’s chapbook competition this year and will be published in a limited run.

It was after a creative writing class her freshman year that Stull found herself drawn to writing as a serious discipline. Stull then began working with Rock & Sling, which she credits with teaching her how to write and discuss poetry.

“[There], it mattered that you looked carefully at things and considered what was happening and [put] personal preference aside," Stull said. "That’s when, I think, it shifted from like, ‘reading poetry is kind of fun and neat’ and ‘I took a poetry class in high school’ to it being a serious field of study.”

There have been opportunities at Whitworth that she may not have encountered at other schools, Stull said. She comments that it is special to be in a town with a thriving literary scene where people are creating a community of writers. She has worked with professors here, especially Thom Caraway and John Pell, who have inspired her and shaped her understanding of what it means to be a poet.

“They’re all great … I would say especially Thom … and I think John Pell too [because] I think developing a rhetorical foundation is actually really important when you’re looking at and writing poetry, and critically that has helped and influenced me,” Stull said.

Stull is invested in what poetry writing means, noting common misconceptions that students often have about the craft. She says that the study of poetry is more intellectually rigorous and applicable to other areas of study than people may generally believe.

“I think in general … poetry just has this weird aura. [The perception is] you can’t talk about poetry because it’s just the way that people feel … [but] just looking at all of the things you should be learning about writing in college, like, the argument [and] the audience you’re writing to … you learn all of those things in a poetry class, and I think that’s useful,” Stull said.

Stull says that she does not necessarily have a preference for a genre of writing or any particular subject that she draws inspiration from.

“I just like writing things,” Stull said. “I think there are things I end up writing about more than things I like writing about.”

In “the girl who says nothing,” Stull focuses on her experience working in a childcare program with a 6-year-old girl who was selectively mute. After the program lost funding and closed, ending Stull’s relationship with the girl, Stull began to write about her observations.

Stull has not decided on her definite plans post-graduation, but hopes to incorporate writing and editing into her future work.

“I think I would really like doing the things I am doing now," Stull said. "I really enjoy the editorial process.”

Stull’s chapbook will be published in a short run this semester, but selected poems from the work can be read below.

____________________________________

the girl who says nothing

needs to sit at the table

with everybody loud and stacking

cheese squares that are for snack

that need to be eaten or

at least given a no-thank-you

bite or no leaving the table no

moving on to blocks, if

Fuzzy eats it does not count

because he is pretend

and does not have a real throat

 

The girl who says nothing

cannot hit the ground with her fist,

because

it can mean all different things

it is not the way we use our hands

our hands are not our words

 

incident report #3

child & Fluffy brought cardboard fort and reading lamp into bathroom & plugged lamp in & went (w/ lamp) into fort & told to keep the fort & lamp in the classroom & made a choice to not listen & locked the door & the assistant teacher says she listened for a while & heard voices coming from the inside & we want a safe space for her to talk but not here & not alone

 

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Andrew Isom plays from the soul

Senior Music Composition major Andrew Isom views music as a God-given duty—one that he fully plans to fulfill. Isom has been playing the piano since he was seven at the request of his parents, but found his own desire to continue playing and composing music in the ninth grade when he learned jazz theory.  Since then, he has struggled with determining why he continues to pursue music as an art and a career.

“I’ve struggled with the question of why I do this until last week. I’ve had a hard time figuring out why I do this, but I’ve figured out that I do it because I’m good at it. It’s hard for me to believe that God wants me to do this,” Isom said.

Isom plays the piano because he’s been playing it the longest; it’s the instrument that he’s best at. He has composed around 15 classical pieces, and many other jazz tunes on the piano.

“Composers are not geniuses. We’re just normal people. Just because I’m a composer doesn’t mean I’m more talented. Just because music is my vocation or calling, doesn’t mean it’s not hard work. I’ll compose and wonder if this is what I want to do, because it’s so frustrating. I’ll spend an hour and put something on the page and not like it, or I’ll put nothing at all,” Isom said.

Isom said that his compositional philosophy—the way that he approaches composing music—is somewhat different from that of other composers.

“I value thinking of what I want my philosophy to be before the piece. What I usually think about most is the setting. When I’m composing, I try to strive to create a setting, an atmosphere. If my music doesn’t do that, it’s empty,” Isom said.

Isom’s focus on setting was inspired by playing Legend of Zelda growing up. He said he was fascinated with the characters moving between worlds.

“God gives us the ability to create. We have the ability to create other worlds,” Isom said.

Isom thinks about the relationship between music and spirituality. He said that although God made music for people to enjoy, people give it too much spiritual value and its purpose has much more to do with our experience of music.

“God gave us music to like it. The existence of sin is proof of good things gone bad. Music goes bad all the time, but the enjoyment of music isn’t inherently bad,” Isom said.

Isom said that he believes that the main purpose of music is for enjoyment, but also detailed that music does not have just one purpose.

“Two other purposes of music that I believe in, but don’t always represent in my compositions involve music’s ability to teach us about God in the way that an artist may paint a picture of Jesus and music as an avenue in which we express ourselves to God, the Psalms being an example,” Isom said.

Last Friday, Isom had his senior recital in which six of his pieces were presented by himself and others. After graduating, Isom’s plans involve private music education and continuing playing and composing jazz and possibly going to graduate school.

Aside from plans for what he wants to do after graduation, he has a more personal goal he would like to achieve.

“I would like to reach a point in my life where the effort i put into my music, that I will compose with all of my heart—for God and not man,” Isom said.

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Linnea Goold glows

Senior Linnea Goold did not come to Whitworth intending to be an artist. Rather, it was something that she fell into. “I actually didn’t do any art before college,” Goold said. “I started as a psych major, and then I took one art class my first semester here … I’m still very involved in the psychology department; I would really like to go into art therapy.”

Goold said she believes that art and psychology have strong ties and sees art as an important resource to use in the field of psychology. Her own pieces reflect the way that art can influence the feelings of both the artist and the viewer. The piece she is working on now, which will be featured in her senior show this week, is a large installation that involves using string to web found car doors into a web-like structure, was inspired by recurring dreams she had as a child.

“That’s kind of where this all stemmed from … I love seeing how art can psychologically impact me, and others, so I wanted to see what it would be like to work through those dreams in this way,” Goold said.

Although this particular work is based on her dreams, Goold wants viewers to be able to take their own impressions from the piece. Goold wants her art to be accessible and interpretive, so even when the pieces have personal histories relevant to her life, she wants viewers to take from the piece their own interpretations, she said.

“It’s not all about me,” she said.

Goold plans on taking her passions for art and psychology into the community and working as an art therapist, though she does also want to explore participating in gallery shows at some point. She is interested primarily in working with youth and adolescents. She believes that art has the power to help individuals overcome trauma and wants to participate in that process.

“I also have become a lot more interested in the past year in prevention and how art can be used to help people handle emotions in a different way or express themselves in a more healthy way,” Goold says.

Though she has largely worked with organic materials such as branches or tumbleweeds in her other pieces, Goold experiments with a variety of objects, such as the car doors in her current work.

“I do like found objects; I like things that have a history to them,” Goold said.

Though now her preferred media are sculpture and installation work, Goold did not find her love for it initially. It was not until halfway through her studies that she became interested in the work. Initially, Goold said, she was under the common misconception that art majors should be painters and illustrators. Taking a class in three-dimensional design, however, drew her to sculpture and other forms of three-dimensional design.

“Three-dimensional art just really comes to life for me, and I love taking something in my head and seeing it turn into something big and three-dimensional in the real world,” Goold said.

Her current installation, which incorporates several car doors borrowed from a local junkyard and thousands of feet of string, has been something that Goold has been planning for two years. She said that lecturer Rob Fifield has told her that art is about posing a problem and fixing it, and she agrees. For this project, she faces the challenge of broken string and how to mount heavy metal doors, temporarily, to gallery walls.

That is part of what draws her to art—the ability to work through challenges and grow from the process. By combining her passion of art with love of psychology, Goold hopes to help others work through their personal challenges through exploring the power art holds.

The senior art show featuring Goold, as well as several other graduating art majors, opens on Tuesday, April 14 in the Bryan Oliver Gallery in the Lied Art Center and will close on May 16.

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Kyler Lacey re-creates treasures

Senior English major Kyler Lacey finds beauty in what others seek to throw away. He is passionate about writing, and the art of antique restoration and the many challenges and wonders that arise from that process. Lacey restores antique, collectable and vintage items as an art form, taking items that are “dirty, greasy and damaged” and making them “restored, shiny, polished and beautiful,” Lacey said.

“I’m interested in antiques and old things because there’s something special about them and their history,” Lacey said.

Lacey’s fascination with restoring old items as an art form comes from his first typewriter purchase: a vintage 1971 Smith-Corona Galaxie Twelve.

He bought the typewriter to use for his writing and still uses it to type important projects. He likes using a typewriter instead of a computer because he can’t spell check, delete words or move content. It’s a more thorough process because he has to think harder and be more intentional with what he writes, Lacey said.

Lacey restores, re-imagines and sells old typewriters, televisions, radios and other items. He redoes the paint, interior, exterior and any electric wiring by himself. He enjoys modernizing the things he works on to make them compatible with modern technologies and atmospheres.

“I love finding it: going into a packed garage, climbing over things and finding that one treasure,” Lacey said.

Once he finds an item, he researches it, learns about it and then fixes it. He said that a big part of fixing it is that he gets to use it.

“There’s people who say what I’m doing is work, not art. It’s different than what most people would consider as art,” Lacey said.

One way that Lacey’s restoration distinguishes itself as an art form and not just work is that he isn’t in it for the money; he enjoys the process of taking something broken and making it whole again. Since his focus is on his artistry and not about making lots of money, he charges very little over the cost of what he pays for the items he sells, just enough to buy supplies for his next project.

Lacey’s love of writing stems from when he was seven years old. He was unsatisfied with the lack of a third Toy Story so he decided to write one himself. The plot revolved around Andy and his mom and sister flying somewhere with Buzz Light Year and Woody, opening up a window in the plane, and having the toys fall out into the middle of nowhere to be taken home by a family there.

His love of writing and passion for restoration come together in his inspiration. When Lacey finds an antique, he is often inspired by its past. He writes historical fiction based on items he’s found, placing his characters and his writing back in a different time in the past.

Lacey said that one of the most special things about antiques is that even after 100 years they can still be made to work in some way that brings joy to the people who get to use them. He said that he wonders if the products produced today will work in 100 years.

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Acting major cherishes spiritual joy

Madeleine L’Engle, author of “A Wrinkle in Time,” once said that there is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred. Junior theater major Rebecca Seideman exemplifies that ideal. She tries to serve God in all things that she does, especially within her major. She is inspired by the idea of ministry through theater.

“I want to represent God in a good way in the professional acting community,” Seideman said.

Seideman has been involved in theater for seven years. She became interested in theater when she moved to a new state and became enrolled in a huge high school. Her mother was in charge of picking her classes and put her in beginning drama.

“I was absolutely terrified,” Seideman said.

Since then theater has been an integral part of her life. Seideman recently experienced a death in her family and theater helped her to process the tragedy and keep going.

“When you think about how fragile life can be, suddenly nothing else matters but to pursue passion,” Seideman said.

Seideman likes that theater brings together a whole group of people that would otherwise never be in the same room with each other. Theater has given her a new way to look at people and has shown her the importance of empathy—for characters and for people.

“I wish that I had a way to concisely describe how important theater is to me,” Seideman said.

She has lost count of how many shows she has been in, but her involvement with theater goes further than acting.

She is involved in many of senior projects, has participated in the Broadway Unbound dance showcase every year she’s attended Whitworth and had the opportunity to collaborate with directors and designers in New York. She is the stage carpenter, is in the mainstage production, and is co-leading and starring in Cool Whip this spring. She sometimes has rehearsal for upwards of five hours a day.

“I have to keep my sanity and remember what’s important,” Seideman said.

Something else that is very important to Seideman is her involvement with the homeless.

Last summer, Seideman moved to the Tenderloin District in San Francisco, which houses a large homeless population. She said that although it’s a disadvantaged neighborhood, most of the sadness and depravity is in the houses, not on the streets. She worked with the organization City Impact and ran a rescue mission in the district. They coordinated food and services, prayed with people and distributed much-needed items such as clothes.

Junior Rebecca Seideman hopes to use theater to help disadvantaged youth.   Jeanette Vazquez | Photographer

Seideman has many homeless friends and says that the homeless population is misunderstood. She said that they are suffering from a “spiritual starvation.”

“The real problem is addiction and lack of spiritual support,” Seideman said.

Seideman has thought about completely engrossing herself into the homeless population, but has decided that she can better serve them through art.

“There’s something inherently spiritual about art,” Seideman said.

Seideman finds her inspiration in people and the quirky things they do. She has a rule that she is aware when she is anywhere. She watches people to inspire characters.

This summer, Seideman plans to temporarily move to San Francisco to be trained and certified in InterPlay, a technique using stories, movement and voice to unlock wisdom. After her certification, she would like to use that technique to help the disadvantaged youth and homeless population in San Francisco, using InterPlay as a sort of therapy.

After she graduates, she plans to marry her fiancé, whom she met while in San Francisco, and possibly moving to New York to become an Equity actor.

Seideman’s advice to other artists and people is to live for right now, accept help, not be afraid, and most importantly: to laugh.

“Laugh. Just laugh at everything. It makes life more bearable,” Seideman said.

Seideman will perform in the mainstage production, “These Shining Lives,”  opening March 6 in Cowles Auditorium.

 

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Tanner Walker sees a musical future

Many people have hobbies that they put a lot of time and effort into, whether art, music or sports. But for junior Tanner Walker, playing flute is not just a hobby—it shapes her identity. “It runs my personal life…it’s a big part of my life and part of who I am,” Walker said.

Walker, a flute performance major with the hope of mastering in music, has been playing flute since she was in the sixth grade after being influenced by family members.

“My mom played [flute] and I wanted to be like [her] at the time,” Walker said.

Walker has played other woodwind instruments such as the oboe and piccolo, and once ventured into the realm of brass with the euphonium, Walker said. However, she prefers flute because of its sound and difficulty.

“I find [the flute] really soothing and you get a lot of hard music. I like that a lot; it’s challenging,” Walker said.

During her middle school and high school years, Walker was a member of the Spokane Youth Symphony for five years, played with the Central Valley Marching Band, and was part of her high school’s band and Wind Symphony. She also performed in both solo and ensemble flute competitions every year.

Because of Walker’s involvement with multiple orchestras and symphonies, she has had the opportunity to play many challenging and interesting music pieces.

“The hardest thing I’ve played is probably ‘The Firebird’ by Stravinsky, with the Youth and Spokane Symphony combined,” Walker said.

Since coming to Whitworth, Walker has maintained her involvement in music. She has played in both the Wind Symphony and the Orchestra for three years and Chamber Winds for two years. She has also provided musical accompaniment for all of the choirs.

As a flute player at Whitworth, Walker has had several opportunities to tour with musical groups.

“I’ve gotten to travel a lot. I went to Utah with the Orchestra and California with the Wind Symphony,” Walker said.

This year, she is going with the Whitworth Orchestra on a tour of the East Coast.

Walker plans to continue her involvement in music after she graduates, and is working on getting her masters credentials for music education.

“I’m hoping to play in a symphony later in life and I’ll probably teach private lessons as well,” Walker said.

Playing the flute and performing has helped Walker to be a more confident person overall.

“The performance aspect has helped me get out of my comfort zone. I’m more outgoing since I’ve been a musician, I was shy when I was younger and it’s really helped,” Walker said.

Walker hopes to use her flute performance degree to stay involved in symphonies and teach others how to play her instrument.

“I’m always going to be doing something with music,” Walker said.

 

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Brooke Grissom answers her artistic calling in dance

The word hodgepodge is defined as a mixture of different things. For senior Brooke Grissom, hodgepodge is not so much a word as it is a chosen way of life. Hannah Palmer | Photographer

Grissom’s hodgepodge refers to her unique mix of majors. She is double-majoring in kinesiology and art with a concentration in spatial design and is a theater-dance minor. The tie between these different areas of study lies in her passion for all, and ability to find connections between them.

“Dance is the bridge between art and kinesiology,” Grissom said.

Dance is Grissom’s first passion. She has been dancing since she was 3 years old and uses it as a way to process and express her thoughts, feelings, struggles and experiences. The ability to process things through an artistic process is integral to her life and, as with many artists, the inspiration for expression is essential.

“I find inspiration through music,” Grissom said. “The posture of the song drives the movement.”

For Grissom, dance involves a lot of art, but art itself became a passion for her during college. She had taken an art class in high school and had enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until coming to Whitworth that she realized it was something she wanted to pursue.

She was able to not only to find the connection between all of her passions, but to develop and hone her study of art until it matched what she wanted to do. Her interest in interior design and architecture prompted her concentration of spatial design.

She is intrigued by the aspect of human ecology involved in spatial design. It interests her to see what space provides for humans and what it does to human interaction.

Grissom believes that art is important to everyone because it speaks to an unconscious side of ourselves and allows us to express “literally anything without regard for holding back.”

In her desire to express herself as an artist, she has faced significant struggles.

“The art major in general is a constant identity crisis,” Grissom said.

For people pursuing art and dance as well as other creative avenues, an identity crisis is not the only concern.

Three years ago when she first began college, Grissom sustained a back injury caused by doing cross country and track. She was unable to participate in activities that involved large amounts of physical movement for a year.

“Having to be sedentary for a year showed me what a gift dancing is,” Grissom said.

Grissom is grateful for her ability to dance, but she is also grateful for the people who have supported her artistry. Her family has been a great support throughout her dancing career, she said.

“A lot of parents sway children away from art of any kind,” Grissom said. “But my parents always vocalized that I could pursue whatever I wanted to.”

One way that Grissom pursues her art is through her work with Partners Through Art, which is a non-profit organization started by Karla Parbon, the director of dance minors at Whitworth. It aims to partner with other non-profits to help them utilize art for their cause. Many of the non-profits are a voice for social justice issues.

Working with Parbon helped her to develop as a dancer and a choreographer. It also helped her to integrate her faith into her dancing, which is one of the most important aspects of her artistry. A large part of her artistic journey was the realization that faith and dance could go together and become something powerful. Coming to Whitworth was vital to that realization.

Hannah Palmer | Photographer

“Whitworth is a unique place,” Grissom said. “Being here has shown me that faith can be a foundation for every part of my life.”

In the future, Grissom wishes to keep dancing and choreographing and pursuing art through continuing her education in the field. She also wants to continue working with non-profits that are a voice for social justice.

To anyone who is pursuing art or dance or even just looking to express themselves through a creative avenue, Grissom gives this piece of advice: “Let go of what you’re not, embrace what you are, and allow that to be a motivation in your work regardless of what others might think.”

 

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Emily Moline decodes the world in her music

For sophomore Emily Moline, music is not just something you hear on the radio. Music has always been an important part of the singer-songwriter’s life, especially since she learned to play guitar at the age of 12, inspired by her father’s own musical tendencies. “My family always played and sang songs together,” said Moline, who plays the guitar, piano and harmonica.

Moline’s involvement with music increased during her junior year of high school, when she began publishing her songs through a literary magazine she was a part of.

Although Moline is a sociology major with a minor in women’s and gender studies, she uses music to express herself and causes that are important to her.

“When it comes to songwriting, you have a platform for your voice that gives you a chance to say things you might not express to your friends,” Moline said.

Moline describes her sound as a combination of folk and alternative, but is also inspired by her love of R&B, describing that her music is like “if Beyoncé and Ray Lamontagne had a love child.”

“My music taste is so diverse, I just hear something and I go with it,” Moline said.

Backed by her unique sound, Moline writes honest and simple lyrics that are generally reflective in nature.

“A lot of my songs focus on how broken I am or have been in the past, and then I reassert my value in a way,” Moline said.

Her songs generally focus on themes such as how she and other women are worth loving and how love is possible, Moline said.

“I don’t write a lot of happy songs. If you never acknowledge that you’re feeling low or unhappy you might not be feeling anything,” Moline said about her pledge to honest songwriting.

Moline is most proud of a song she wrote called “Cascading Words,” which expresses hurt that she was feeling in response to being knocked down.

Because of her singing, Moline is a more confident individual—able to speak in front of people without fear, she said.

“[Giving a] presentation doesn’t bother me anymore because I am used to performing,” Moline said.

Although she has not performed any gigs since she has lived in Spokane, Moline has experience as a performer. Throughout her high school years, Moline participated in various talent shows, sang at open mic nights and was a part of many musical theater performances, which gave her the confidence to perform in front of other people and “gave [her] a face in the community,” Moline said.

A few weeks ago, Moline performed a set on Whitworth FM as part of the Friend Jam series, something which she hopes to do more of in the future.

Although Moline will always be involved in music, she intends to pursue a separate career she said.

“I didn’t want to pursue it as a career because it would take some of the fun out of it,” Moline said, because of the stress of having to produce music for people to buy.

“Because it’s something I do on the side, it’s a really good outlet,” Moline said.

 

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Maggie Montague drafts her career as a professional freelance author

It all started with a monkey queen. A young Maggie Montague invented the furry character in her first story. Now a senior, Montague has published several fiction and nonfiction pieces.

“Stories have always been a part of my life,” Montague said. “When I was little, my dad and I would create stories, usually rhyming and ridiculous, before bedtime each night. And my mom would always read me fairytales.”

Implementing her story background, Montague self-published a book in high school.  She described the book as a fiction fantasy coming-of-age story.

“There were dwarves and elves and that type of thing,” Montague said. “But it was about a girl who leaves home when she’s 13 because of a deal her parents made a long time ago…I still have people who come up to me and their kids are reading my book and they say, ‘My son stayed up all night reading this.’”

Beyond the book, a few of Montague’s pieces have appeared in literary journals. Two of her works were published in Script, the student-run literary journal on campus.

“My advice to students who are looking for ways to get their writing out there is to take advantage of Script on our campus,” Montague said. “Script offers students the chance to submit their work and is a good place to start building up confidence in your work, even if it’s just in the Whitworth community.”

Montague also had a creative nonfiction piece titled “From One Synapse to Another” published in Apeiron Review, an online journal based in Philadelphia.

What’s the next step? Montague is currently working on a young adult trilogy.

“I would describe it as Indiana Jones meets the Avengers,” Montague said. “The only thing I have left is to finish revising book three and then I have to look more into literary agents and publishers.”

Although she used to consider herself a fiction writer, Montague said she has found a new voice in creative nonfiction.

“I like creative nonfiction because it lets you look at the world from your own perspective in new ways, which sounds strange, but you see new parallels and new connections that even when you were living in the moment, you didn’t see,”

Montague said. When writing a piece, Montague said inspiration can come from anything someone says, or even an unusual scene.

“The other day I saw a nun driving in a car and for some reason, that just struck me,” Montague said.  “I mean, I know nuns drive cars, but I just had never really thought about it and it caught my attention.”

Montague said her initial inspirations can take her down unexpected pathways.

“I never know exactly where the inspiration will take me,” Montague said. “Sometimes you end up at a place that’s completely unrelated and you wonder how you even got there.”

Although the path can be unpredictable, Montague said writing helps her make sense of life and her experiences.

“It’s a way of translating the things I see in the world, or perhaps what I wish I would see in the world, into something that means more than the summation of its parts,” Montague said.

Writing also alleviates Montague’s stress level. She said it helps her regain sanity and composure.

In addition to that benefit, Montague said writing helps her learn how to live an effective life.

“Writing teaches you the value of being in community and of engaging with new perspectives,” Montague said. “In order to write, you can’t shut yourself off from the world; instead, you have to interact with the world around you. If you write in isolation, what new thoughts can you offer the world?”

Kyla Parkins

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Christa Prentiss seeks depth

Art is not meant to be kept in a box; it should flow into different aspects of life as well. A prime example of this artistic way of thinking, senior Christa Prentiss infuses her art into everything she does in subtle and effective ways. Prentiss is on the 2D art track with a focus on oil painting. Currently, she is working on a series of pieces for her 400-level oil class, she said.

“It’s largely a lot of personal work,” Prentiss said, “We choose a theme and create pieces within that theme.”

Prentiss places a large emphasis on the human figure in much of her work, which she describes as realism.

“I see what I want to do in my mind when I’m given an idea,” Prentiss said, in regard to her creative process. After her initial inspiration, Prentiss does many concept sketches in order to fully form her idea.

“Usually I just go for it and play with the idea as I’m working on it. It’s a very process-oriented approach to art,” Prentiss said.

Using this method, Prentiss has created many pieces she is proud of, including a recent oil painting featuring birds and glass bottles

In addition to studying 2D art at Whitworth, Prentiss maintains a busy extracurricular schedule. She has an illustration job, takes a painting class at another college and often works on personal projects.

However, being an artist is not Prentiss’ only career focus.

Prentiss is also studying pre-medicine. While art and medicine may seem to be polar opposites to many people, to Prentiss they are complementary disciplines.

Her heavy focus on the human figure in her oil paintings and her current illustration job have proven to be useful in her pre-medicine studies, because she is able to create medical illustrations, Prentiss said.

“Art is how I see things, for example, I illustrate things I learn in class because it helps me understand,” Prentiss said. In the medical field, it is essential to be able to visualize the process, especially during surgery and plastics, Prentiss said.

Andrew Rollins | Photographer

Her visualization and illustration methods transfer well to the medical field, which is generally thought to be based mostly on science and math.

“[Art] adds life and depth to our culture--it’s not dry. People for the most part are really visual, and so art plays into a fundamental aspect of being human,” Prentiss said.

Because of this reason, art is able to permeate every aspect of life and be in some way applicable to the majority of career choices.

“Don’t let someone else determine what your interest in art is,” Prentiss said, as advice to aspiring artists or those who wish to incorporate art into their various separate careers or activities.

Each person’s artistic style is unique and through it, everyone finds their own way to express themselves, because “art connects with people in a way other things cannot,” Prentiss said.

“I’ll use art in whatever my career ends up being,” Prentiss said. As Prentiss does, it is important to incorporate art and creativity into our pursuits, to remain connected and cultivated people.

 

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Nate Strain imagines more

Name: Nate StrainYear: Junior Major: Physics/Theater

Junior Nate Strain couldn’t pick just one passion to follow, so he decided to major in physics and theater. As a child, he took theater classes one summer and realized his love for performing. He enjoys the interactive aspect of performing and receiving feedback from the audience.

“I like making people feel. Watching a performance can help people find something new about life and themselves. It can be escape for them, but also introspective,” Strain said.

Strain explained how he can apply what he learns in physics classes to theater and vice versa. Theater classes have encouraged him to think outside of the box for problem solving in physics, as physics classes have helped him think methodically when developing characters. Physics classes have also helped him with adapting to performance spaces and knowing how to project his voice effectively, he said.

Strain plans to apply for engineering graduate programs, as well as fine arts master’s programs. Ideally, he’d like to pursue a career that combines both passions. He is interested in theatrically enthused engineering, stunt designs for movies, and designing performance spaces. He’s looking into an internship with Walt Disney’s Imagineering program, he said.

Strain believes theater can often be a way of conveying important messages to audiences. This year, he plays the character George, the main character’s best man, in Whitworth’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

“If you want to play a character truthfully and honestly, you can’t judge the character. You give a piece of yourself to the character, the character gives something back, and you give that to the audience,” Strain said.

In the spring main stage production his freshman year, the “Laramie Project,” Strain played nine characters with very different personalities, from an Eastern European man with an accent to a troubled, young gay man.

“With ‘The Laramie Project,’ it spoke to a lot of people and they weren’t expecting it,” he said.

Understanding characters has allowed him to appreciate all different types of people and be less judgmental, Strain said, adding that he can look at people more honestly and sympathize. He also appreciate all genres of plays.

“There is a co-existent relationship between you and the audience that is directly proportional. The energy you give the audience is the energy you get back. The more excited you are, the more excited they are to see you,” Strain said.

Strain said he tries not to let the size of an audience determine the quality of his performance, but always loves seeing a big crowd when the curtains open.

When Strain traveled to London, he saw fifteen plays during his stay and the overall experience reinvigorated his passion for performance, he said. After watching the performance of the Shakespearean tragedy “Coriolanius,” the actors embodied something he would want to become if he were to pursue acting after Whitworth. Actors Kevin Spacey, Daniel Day Lewis and Tom Hiddleston also serve as inspirations for him.

Though Strain enjoys reading plays and dissecting characters, he also holds a great appreciation for light and sound design. Lighting sets the mood for a lot of the performance and he appreciates the small factors of a performance that often go unnoticed, he said.

In theater, backstage technicians and actors can hold stigmas toward each other because of a lack of appreciation for each other’s craft.

“I like how liberal arts learning applies in the art department,” Strain said. “Actors are forced to take classes on lighting and sound and light and sound technicians take acting classes. We gain an appreciation for each other and what we do.”

Juniors Daniel Amando (l.) and Nate Strain (r.) in their roles as Robert and George in the Drowsy Chaperone.

Strain acknowledges the cohesive and friendly atmosphere that exists within Whitworth productions.

“Improv is definitely my biggest release for stress,” Strain said.

As director of the improv group Cool Whip, Strain says they’ve been trying to develop a collective mentality this year. He feels different about being the person to give rather than receive advice and appreciates how receptive the members have been.

On Oct. 22, Cool Whip will host a joint primetime in Arend and Warren. The first official Cool Whip performance will be on Oct. 30 on Stage II, a small space in Cowles Auditorium.

 

Rachelle Robley

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Erin Kreycik’s life of poetry

Name: Erin Kreycik Year: Senior

Major: English: Writing Track

Senior Erin Kreycik said she’s always communicated better on paper. She said it helps her express things she couldn’t otherwise process.

As a sophomore walking into her Intro to Creative Writing class, Kreycik had no plans to major in writing. Before that day, she said she wanted to study literature. Yet as her journey with Professor Thom Caraway advanced, Kreycik said she realized she would rather write.

“I just began to see it as a feasible future. I could go to school three more years and get involved with other people who actually do this for a living,” Kreycik said.

Speaking of people who write for a living, some of Kreycik’s greatest inspirations include the voices she’s been exposed to. These writers include B.H. Fairchild and Jack Gilbert.

Some of her inspirations deliver spoken word, as well as written word. Kreycik said she has never performed spoken word, but sees the importance of it.

“I think it’s probably the future of poetry because I think it reaches people in a way that just picking up a poetry book doesn’t,” Kreycik said. “I’d love to get involved in it eventually, but I’m not an actor and I feel like to be good at performance art, you have to have that aspect of acting along with the words. I only want to do it if I can do it well.”

From a non-performance perspective, Kreycik said attending workshops broadens her outlook and helps her grow as a writer. In this setting, she gets to comment on other people’s work, as well as receive input on her own.

“That’s really helped me to realize how the mechanics work, how the writing process goes, how you write it over and over again to make it the best that you possibly can,” Kreycik said. “Also, how you have to stop at some point because obviously it’s never going to be perfect.”

Kreycik said that traveling also contributes to her growth.

“As far as people that I know and places that I travel, I want to try and process that because it’s beautiful and I want to capture it,” Kreycik said. “I want it to mean something to someone else. Usually it’ll take me a few months to process and then I’ll finally write it out.”

Of her travels, Kreycik said London was the most interesting.

“It’s English-speaking so there’s not the language barrier, but it’s so culturally rich and there’s so much literary history there,” Kreycik said.

Even when she’s not traveling, Kreycik said the setting for her best writing varies.

“They always tell you to have this time where you sit down and write. It always happens to me when I’m riding a bus or sitting out in the middle of a field somewhere,” Kreycik said. “The words start to come together. I’ve also done some very good composing in the middle of thunderstorms.”

When she writes, Kreycik said that one of her main themes is mental health and the way it’s still a stigma.

“I think most messed up people become artists and writers,” Kreycik said. “Half the time their brains are eating them alive and they have to work through that somehow.”

Kreycik said the problem for these people isn’t lack of inspiration, but struggling to communicate effectively.

“That’s how it is to have a mind that doesn’t necessarily work the same as everyone else’s,” Kreycik said. “There’s pain but there’s also colors. It’s an odd sort of twisted beauty, so I want to communicate that to as many people as possible. “

Communicating through her writing, Kreycik said she enjoys passing ideas to other people and possibly changing their perspective.

“The interplay between life and artists is interesting to me.  You take life and turn it into art but I think it works the other way too,” Kreycik said.  “What you read and your influences are going to shape the way you live. You then take that and turn it around into more art which maybe someone else is going to read and that might change the way they live life.”

Kyla Parkins

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: King Dawidalle plays from the soul

Hope Barnes, Photographer Name: King Dawidalle

Grade: Sophomore

Major: Writing

Minor: Music

King Dawidalle has been playing the upright bass since he was 10 years old.

“My dad put the bass in my hand,” Dawidalle said. “I didn’t want to at first, because I was more into drumming. Then I started to realize I was really good at bass. It just came easy to me so I started playing and got more into it.”

In high school he joined concert band for his first year, Dawidalle said. When sophomore year came, he joined jazz band and has stuck with it ever since. However, things could have turned out very differently for Dawidalle.

“If I did not switch school districts, I would be a violist right now, so I’m kind of glad things worked the way they did,” Dawidalle said.

Now that the bass is his main instrument, Dawidalle said it’s very important, especially in a jazz setting.

“It’s very melodic and you’re pretty much the leader. You have to play a lot of root chords,” Dawidalle said. “Without our stable guidance, the rest of the band can’t follow. It’s a very important responsibility and I’m grateful to have the ability and discipline to do it.”

Dawidalle said he takes inspiration from many big names, including Ron Carter, Charles Mingus, Cecil Mcbee and Marcus Miller. However, one of his greatest inspirations is his dad.

“My dad’s the reason why I play a lot too. He’s a musician….Every day he’s emailing me something new to listen to. He plays guitar, he used to play saxophone, and he’s a singer/songwriter,” Dawidalle said.

Dawidalle has dabbled in composing his own music as well.

“I have a band back home called Dysfunction and all we do is originals,” Dawidalle said. “I’ve pretty much named 99 percent of our songs, and I guess that comes from my writing creativity to be able to express my ideas through words if I have to.”

Last year at a combo concert, Dawidalle played a song he wrote titled “Vision.” He said this piece was inspired by wanting to go to Italy and watching his dreams unfold in a certain way.

“That was my vision. So that’s just an example of how I get my ideas when I’m writing a song,” Dawidalle said.

Dawidalle pulls from various styles in his musical journey.

“When it comes to music, I like grooves. I like dark stuff…. Stuff like that is very appealing to me,” Dawidalle said. “I get a lot of hip-hop influences too. I like anything that sounds good. I use it to my advantage.”

Music has become such a staple in Dawidalle’s life that he said he can’t do anything, including homework, without music in the background.

“It pretty much tells the story of my life. It’s always been a part of me. Ultimately, I want music to take over when I’m done with school and going into the big world of things,” Dawidalle said. “Without music, honestly, 75 percent of the world’s entertainment and life and how we view things wouldn’t exist. I just find it’s a very powerful thing and it needs to be continued and I want to be able to implement that.”

Kyla Parkins

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Tayler Wood speaks in image

Janik Emmendorfer, Photographer

Name: Tayler Wood

Grade: Senior

Major: Fine Arts

Minor: English Writing

Tayler Wood discovered art at a very young age.

“I started drawing as soon as I was able to hold a pencil and actually make markings. I’ve always drawn something, whether it was something I saw or something I thought of. I think the first real thing that I drew was my cat at the time. He was a polydactyl and he had seven toes so I named him Mittens,” Wood said.

Today, Wood’s work has evolved from the abnormal toes of a cat to a discussion of social issues through an outlet she calls “flower language.”

“By flower language, I mean the symbols and metaphors associated with those flowers,” Wood said.

For example, Wood created a piece featuring an exposed woman surrounded by vibrant flowers and the remains of a dismembered raven. The flowers that surrounded the depicted woman-lupine, buttercups and forget-me-nots-hold a symbolic meaning, as “flower language” suggests.

“Lupine is a milkweed that is toxic to animals, but there’s a symbolism behind it meaning imagination,” Wood said. Buttercups are a symbol for childhood and forget-me-nots kind of speak for themselves. Ravens mean creativity, but also trickery in animism. The idea is that she was robbing something from the raven and is being exposed for that.

Wood is currently working on another piece that will showcase a young girl wearing sheepskin.

“The message is going to be about how we have shortened childhood, Wood said. Everything is so accessible….sex, drugs, technology. The magic of childhood and that innocence is being lessened. I think that can be a social issue, so I’m addressing that by having this young, delicate girl wearing a sheepskin and she’s going to be fading into this wallpaper that’s going to be the flowers.

When composing a new piece, Wood draws inspiration through several channels.

“I take a lot of inspiration from the concepts found in literature. Sometimes I take from my own personal experiences. Sometimes I’ll draw my inspiration from dreams I have and I’ll try to fit those dreams into a real-world situation. But I think the biggest well of inspiration for me is the fantasy of metaphor and symbolism.”

“For the most part, I want to challenge my audience and make them think about what I’m putting down,” Wood said.

Wood doesn’t just challenge her audience through artwork, but also herself.

“My greatest challenge is probably doubting myself. I doubt myself constantly and it’s because of a social programming that I underwent with my family. I always ask myself, ‘Is this going to look OK? Are people going to like it?’ But I know it doesn’t matter if other people like it. It’s about if I like it. At the same time, art is so much more complicated than ‘I like this’. It’s more about why you like it, what stimulated this, how does this relate?” Wood said.

Despite that challenge, Wood is determined to make her way in the art world.

“My family has not always appreciated my talent. It’s more like, ‘Do you really want to do this as your occupation?’ But the way I see it, I saw so many times growing up that my mom was upset about her job and I was a little kid soaking all this up. So, I decided I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be that. I want to do something that I love even if it means that I’m not necessarily going to make bank.”

To explore some of Wood’s artwork, visit her art blog at passion001.tumblr.com.

Kyla Parkins 

Staff Writer